Sunday, June 28, 2009

Catch-Up, Week 1

Where do I begin?

Jason is camped out on the couch with three+ hours of motorcycle races ahead of him, so I have some guilt-free time to come downstairs and update the ol' blog. But as I sit here I wonder how I should go about encapsulating the last two weeks? To be honest, I had to scroll through the photos I've taken just to remember some of it! I guess I'll just start chronologically and see what I come up with! [If you follow me on Twitter/Facebook some of this will not be new news, but some of it will.]

Monday morning, June 15th, Jason left for work, not to return until that Thursday. John, being ever considerate, found someplace else to stay while Jason was gone. So I had four whole days to myself, woo hoo! :) All I had to do was hang out at home on Monday and Tuesday while some guys came to do some work in our attic to make our home more energy-efficient. I planned to spend the time in the basement, getting my studio in order and hopefully crafting.

And then the guys came, and asked me to show them the basement. Huh? Why? Apparently we were having some work done in our basement, too, as well as some other non-attic stuff I didn't know about. HOLD THE PHONE. I called Jason's cell, but he was in a cell-free zone... but I did have an "in case of emergency" number. So my first task (which I should have done before Jason left) was to determine what constituted an emergency... like, workmen are trying to hack up the drywall in my studio kind of an emergency, or I just got in a car accident and I'm in the back of an ambulance kind of emergency? Turns out it was the latter. So no talking to Jason.

I was pretty stinkin' sure that Jason did not know about the hacking-out-the-drywall-in-my-studio plans, because if he had he probably would have mentioned it. So then I called the guy we'd arranged all this with to ask what the heck was up. Is this what we'd agreed on? Is this included in what we'd put the partial payment down on? And he assured me that it was. So without being able to talk to Jason, and being told that this was part of what we'd paid for, I let them start in the basement. [Did you hear the da-da-duhn music in the background just then?]

First they had to clear a path around the wall of the basement. I was in the midst of arranging things, so I had piles of things scattered here, there, and everywhere. All of my recently-sorted piles got re-piled and moved around and it will probably take me a month to get things sorted out again. I'm so not exaggerating; it's a bigger mess than it's ever been (it's true, Katie!). Then they kind-of-sort-of covered everything in plastic sheeting. And then they cut 40 six-inch holes in my ceiling.

Here's a small portion of what the ceiling looked like Monday night. Sorry for the crappy picture, but you get the idea. [In case you're wondering the point of this hole-making, the energy audit guy had brought in an infrared camera and it showed heat escaping through the joists here at the basement ceiling/ground level. So they cut the holes and sprayed spray foam up there to insulate it. I understood that was suggested after our energy audit, I just didn't know "we'd" agreed to do it.] I was kind of disappointed that there were exactly 40 holes, because 40 just sounds like a number I made up to mean "a lot," doesn't it? But I actually counted them and there were 40.

Long story slightly shorter: Jason didn't know about it either. It was a huge miscommunication and I am in charge of the planning of expensive things from now on. It was a total stressor and it's caused me lots and lots of extra work, plus it ended up being a lot more expensive than we'd thought. We are looking on the bright side that our house is now so incredibly energy-efficient and I was reminded that I need to be in charge of the details of our financial decisions. Also, I have freshly-painted ceilings in my entire basement and first floor because the paint they got to paint over the holes they patched up didn't match and left a big ugly line, so they had to paint the whole ceiling instead. Whoops for them, hooray for me!

Wednesday started out a LOT better, especially considering it was Jason's birthday and I didn't get to spend it with him (remember last year's birthday post to him? It all still applies, and then some :)). First, I got an awesome invitation that I couldn't believe and I started to figure out how to make it happen. [More on that later.] Then I headed into Alexandria to go to a party on a boat! The Avon Walk staff throws a party every year for the super-star fundraisers and the super-active people who go to a lot of events before the walk (how I get invited). Last year it was a wine-tasting (and I won a one-hour massage)! This year it was on a boat. It was great talking to everyone, plus I won not one but two shirts! I spent most of my time chatting away instead of looking at the sights, but it was great to see this sculpture, called The Awakening:

It used to be in a different location and my aunt Susan took me to see it a couple times. Then they moved it, much to her chagrin, so it was a happy surprise to see it on our tour. :) It's hard to tell from this angle, but it's a huge sculpture that looks like the man is "awakening" and climbing out of the ground. Really cool.

On Thursday I cleaned the house, ran errands, worked on those aforementioned invite plans some more, and got straightened out at the chiropractor. I also finally got a photo of the geese who've been hanging around our neighborhood!

The babies are so big now that you almost can't tell them from the adults. Also, this is not my yard/house/car. Thank goodness. I hate goose poop. HATE. But they are cute waddling around in someone else's yard.

Jason came home on Thursday night and it was a mad dash to get him unpacked and then re-packed, because he was leaving again the next morning to drive to Georgia! His birthday present was a trip with his friends to a riding school on a track down there; his friend has a trailer so they loaded their bikes up and drove down together.

On Friday I drove up to Angela's Happy Stamper to take a class with Fred Mullett. I took the Elegant Mess class and it was quite fun. We spent too much time going over basic tasks (I don't need a 20-minute tutorial on how to turn a small piece of paper into a sticker using double-sided adhesive), but it was fun even if I didn't really learn anything of substance. For all my artsy friends (ie most of my blog readers), here are a few photos:

This is really thin Japanese paper that soaks up the Ranger Color Wash Dyes really well. I went to look at the package I bought so I could include the name of the paper on here, but all the writing on the package is in Japanese. :) He said it's used mainly to practice Japanese calligraphy if that helps. :) [Okay, I totally could not leave this hanging and did a Google search. It's called Washi, which, in Japanese, means "Japanese paper." Well, duh.]

We just sprayed different dyes in different areas using all sorts of masks and stencils. It was totally fun to just spray away with abandon and get all messy. I even had my neighbor take a photo of my hands so I could show Aimee 'cause she has the best messy-hands photo ever. My hands actually got A LOT messier than this, but by that point I didn't want to touch my camera. :)

After that dried we went back and added some Twinkling H2O's shimmery watercolors. We just splattered them on, or painted them onto rubber stamps and stamped with it (like the purple leaf below).

When it was all over we cut out small sections and pasted them onto pre-made cards. I want to do more of this fun messiness, but I will make other things than these cards, which I think are pretty (but kind of pretentious). I'm especially looking forward to making some of these sheets and then cutting out different shapes using my Silhouette!

When I got home I had a bit of awesome news waiting for me in my Inbox... my travel plans were coming together! When I wrote the Favorite {Photo} Friday post that night I was so happy I was jumping up and down, but I didn't want to jinx myself by talking about it until the plane tickets were booked. But they are now, so I can spill my excitement! :) Sweet Jilliene has been asking about it and now, dear lady, your wait is over! :)

Drumroll, please.... I'm going to CHA!!! Lori scored a floor pass and invited me to come down and spend the week with her since she lives in Orlando. So I e-mailed a few people "in the industry" and managed to score *myself* a floor pass, woo hoo! For those who don't know, the CHA--Craft and Hobby Association--trade shows are where all the top manufacturers debut all the new scrapbooking/crafting products they'll be releasing in the following months. ALL the Craft Goddesses (and Gods) are there. ALL the best manufacturers are there, showing the coolest new stuff before it's seen anywhere else. It's not open to the public. For as long as I've been crafting, I've wanted to go to CHA. And now I am!

As if that weren't cool enough, Lori was already signed up to take Donna's new class the weekend before CHA, and I got a spot in that class, too!

THEN, Lori mentioned that (OMG, I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy) TIM HOLTZ would be teaching a class about two hours away, but she thought it was already full. So I called up the store and talked to the nicest lady and guess what? Someone had *just called* to cancel two spots in the class. There was a wait list, I knew from the store blog, but apparently she didn't want to deal with calling people on the wait list so it was serendipitous that I called right at that moment. I know, I know, she should have called the people on the wait list first--but I didn't tell her what to do, and I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth! So we're signed up for that one, too! Stella took the class last month and loved it, so I'm super excited!

THEN, I e-mailed the lovely Claudine to tell her that I'd see her at CHA and was so excited... and she suggested that I get in her class at CHA. So I made another phone call (or did I send an e-mail? Anway...) and someone helped me out again and BAM! Lori and I are both taking that one, too! (Lori was already taking it but now I am, too.)

THEN, I booked my plane tickets using points from our credit card, which I consider to be like a mild form of MAGIC. You're telling me that I can use virtual "points" to buy actual, real-life, *things*? I swear, I never believe it until I actually land in the city for which I bought the ticket.

So our week will be thus: I arrive in Orlando on Friday (July 24), and we'll immediately drive from the airport over to the beach town where Tim's class will be. We'll stay the day and night there, then go to Tim's class on Saturday, spend the night again, and then drive back to Orlando to go to Donna's class on Sunday. On Monday we'll go to Claudine's class at CHA. CHA will be on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and then I fly back on Friday. (And then Saturday I fly out again to go visit my sister's family and go to my 15-year high school reunion, but that's another story for another time.) I'm SOOOOO excited!

The next week will have to wait 'til tomorrow, this is already sooooo long and I need to go spend some time with my Love! :)

Friday, June 26, 2009


Remember last week when I said, "Woooooohoo Doggie" for the week I'd just had? If This Week Cameron could meet Last Week Cameron on the street, This Week Cameron would kick her ass for not knowing what she was talking about. This week was so much crazier than last week, which I thought was crazy, but I was just a dork, apparently. Nothing new there. :)

So much to say but it's late and I'm tired... but I have a one-year-and-two-week tradition of Favorite {Photo} Fridays so here we go. I want to catch up on the other stuff but that will have to come later.

I am still working on the whole South Beach thing so we're sticking with the diet theme and a veggies picture. [I also took some photos of Jason's wounds but didn't think that would sit too well.]

I took this photo in Germany when we were there for Oktoberfest in 2006. I love that the entire left side is all different varieties of tomatoes!

SO MUCH TO SAY. I really want to write a huge giant catch-up post. Hopefully I will on Sunday. Have a great weekend, everyone! :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Woooooohoo Doggie!

What a week! Let me repeat: what a week! I want to tell you all about it--I really, really do--but right now I'm bouncing around (quite literally jumping and dancing around my living room!!) and can't bear to be sitting still at the computer. So I'm going to knock out a couple of quick things and then get back to it!! :)

First! My one-year-plus-one-week Favorite {Photo} Friday:

I took this in Cinque Terre, Italy, too (where I also took last week's Blue Woman on a different trip). I chose it today because I am so darned happy tonight that what else could I choose except daisies? [No, I'm not pregnant, which I add because when I posted a Tweet about getting good news, several people e-mailed me to ask.] :)

Second! The winners from last week's drawing were SUPER fun to pick out. First, because I got so many entries that I got to pick THREE winners!!! Second, because I got to use my super-geeky Excel spread sheet! Third, because I got to finally use (I told you I'm a numbers geek!)! And lastly-but-not-leastly, because I get to give stuff away, hooray!! The three winners are:


Hooray! I'll be e-mailing you all tomorrow afternoon to double-check the photo you want and your addresses. If you read this in the meantime, you can just e-mail me to let me know. :)

Have a super weekend, y'all!!! :)

[And now we go back to our regularly scheduled program of Cameron bouncing around the living room and dancing along to commercials with a crazy happy grin on her face.]

Friday, June 12, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday #52--Blue Woman and a Giveaway!

One year ago tomorrow, or exactly 52 weeks ago today, I copied Stella and started doing Favorite {Photo} Friday every Friday. Since that day, I've posted every single Friday (sometimes at 11:50 p.m.!) without fail. Fifty-two photos later, here we are, and I'm posting one of my favorite photos ever.

I took this photo in Cinque Terre, Italy, in October 2004 (I didn't even have a digital SLR yet). We went there for my birthday and during our hikes I found this amazing mural painted on a wall; it was huge. I couldn't even stand back far enough (without plummeting off trail) to get the whole thing in the frame. I love this photo. I had it printed on metallic paper and then I framed it with a gorgeous three-layer, reverse-bevel, custom cut mat (I worked as a custom framer while we lived in Italy). I love it. It makes me feel both peaceful and invigorated. Have I mentioned that I love this photo?

I realized a few weeks ago that I've never included it on Favorite {Photo} Friday, so I decided to save it for this week. Because I'm doing a giveaway!! I'm going to give away 8x10" photos of winners' choice of my Favorite {Photo}s that I posted on here over the past year! Now, I know there are a bunch of photos that probably nobody who's not related to me would want an 8x10" of, like this one, or this one, or this one. But there are also some really pretty nice ones, like this one, or this one, or this one! [The only one I can't give you is this one, since my wedding photographer took it and that gets complicated and who would want a picture of someone else's wedding, anyway. :)]

To enter:

For one entry: Leave me a comment with your favorite of all my Favorite Photos I've posted so far. You can scroll back through them here, or you can just check them all out in one place here on Flickr. I really like people who read instructions so make sure to include your favorite photo in your comment. :) Important note: if you win, I will ask you which photo you'd like--it does not have to be the one you list in your comment. For example, you can comment that you love my wedding photo, but if you win you can choose a different photo for me to send you. Make sense? Good.

For five entries: Tweet and/or do a Facebook Status Update about this giveaway with a link (tiny url for this post is:, and then post another comment telling me you did so.

For twenty entries: Buy one of my brand-newly-posted Photo Art Card sets on Etsy!! Choose from Carnivale, Venezia, Italian Monuments, or Napoli. (And then comment and let me know you did so, in case your etsy name is different than your comment name.)

For every 25 entries (combined total of comments, tweets, updates, and orders), I'll give away one 8x10", so the more the merrier. :) I'm going to draw and post the winner(s) next Friday, June 19th.

Thanks so much for a great year of Favorite {Photos}!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Weekend's Inspiration

Last weekend I went to Handmade Mart, and I picked up a bunch of great ideas as well as a few cool treasures. I love supporting other artists (especially those who price things reasonably)!! :) When I found this letterpressed piece I admit that I got teary-eyed--it is so much what I have been feeling lately, with all of my friends scattered across the country and around the world.

(Click the photo to see it larger.) I want to frame this and hang it in a special place. LOVE it. Treasure it already.

On Saturday I came across this amazing article on Imperfect Action. I'm so inspired by this! Imperfect action is not a new concept but it's one I need to remind myself of frequently since it's not what I do by (my über-perfectionistic) nature. I want to work on taking *imperfect action* so I'm going to apply for the Crafty Bastards show in the fall. It's juried so who knows if I'll be accepted or not, but I'm going to apply!

Yesterday I headed over to this blog to re-read the info for our quilt-along. Here's my fabric, isn't it delicious?

Anyway, as I was doing the math for how much fabric I was going to need to cut up, I realized that the instructor/leader, Dana, put up the wrong measurements on her blog. A blog that a ton of people are following along to use to create their quilt. First, I freaked out--was *I* doing my math wrong? Once I figured out that I wasn't, then I got rather judgey. Without getting too technical (I do love math so), she sewed her seams too wide, which made her strips more narrow than they would be if she'd sewed proper 1/4" seams. What kind of leader is she if she's telling us to sew 1/4" seams but doesn't even get close herself? And a bunch of people are following along with her; if they sewed the proper seams then her measurements would get them all messed up! In typical Cameron over-empathetic style, I took on the imagined stress and heartache of people I didn't even know discovering that they had rectangles instead of squares (a problem I didn't even know if anyone actually had), all due to Dana's wonky seams. As you can see, judgey judgey judgey (not to mention a little mental and a lot OCD). I didn't know what to do, and I stopped doing anything while I tried to figure out how--or if!--to proceed.

And then, slowly, as I stared at my beautiful fruit and vegetable fabric and wished that it were a quilt already, I realized something important; Dana was taking *imperfect action*, while I, the perfectionist, sat and did nothing. Dana had enough stripped squares to make a quilt top, while I had a pile of fabric. Okay, Universe, I get it.

So I sat down once again and decided how big--approximately--I wanted my quilt. I reveled a little bit in doing the math (okay, I admit, I actually did an Excel spreadsheet even), and then I sat down on the floor with all my fabrics spread out around me and decided which ones to use. I'd originally come up with the combo pictured above. I love it, but I was thinking it was a little too Rainbow Brite (I do love my rainbows, too!). I'd considered an Italian theme, of all the fruits and veggies of Italy (I even have Italian parsley fabric, c'mon!). But sitting there, amongst the beautiful fruits and veggies, it came to me. The reason I love fruits and veggies so much is that I grew up in Oregon; we had a garden in our back yard and my grandparents had a *huge* garden. I have so many childhood memories of planting and digging in the dirt and pulling carrots and potatoes, and driving out to fruit orchards and berry fields to pick apples and peaches and berries. The way that a sweet juicy berry tastes when you've just picked it off the vine and it's still warm from the sun--heaven! So Oregon fruit and veggies it is! I pulled out the oranges, Italian parsley, and chili peppers (peppers do grow in Oregon, but I have no fond memories of picking them, LOL). I added in potatoes, filberts (known as hazelnuts to you non-Oregonians), tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, grapes, apples, and strawberries, and wished that I had zucchini and lemon cucumber fabric, too. (If you don't know what a lemon cucumber is, all I can say is that I'm sorry. Yummo!)

Then I started cuttin'! Okay, actually, I waited around impatiently while the fabric went through the washer and dryer, and then I ironed everything and trimmed off the wild threads, and then I started cuttin'! I didn't even clean off my table, I just put the cutting mat on the floor and did it there. Which, I found out when I got out of bed this morning, turns out to have been a great glute workout. :) Anyway, here's what I ended up with:

Now I *do* have to clean off my table so I can set up the sewing machine and get to sewin'. Which should be a lot easier since I plan to tack a big piece of paper saying "imperfect action!" right above my sewing machine! :)

And if I get stressed, I will just watch one of the videos from Kellie Pickler's spot on Ellen. Freakin' hilarious!

What *imperfect action* do you want to take this week?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday #51--Krax Kills

Given my current obsession with food this week (since I can't eat most of it!), is it at all surprising that I choose a food-based Favorite {Photo} for this Friday?

When Jason and I had about a year left in Italy we started traveling our asses off. We traveled quite a bit anyway, but once the end of our time in Europe was in sight we really ramped it up. In June of 2007 we headed up to both Poland and Romania, both truly amazing countries! When we landed in Romania we headed out to our destination and stopped at a gas station. Of course I always have to check out the local snacks, just to see what they have (convenience store snacks are always enlightening!). And I really try not to be the obnoxious foreigner, laughing at and taking photos of local things (imagine if a European was laughing and taking photos in a 7-11!). But when you stumble upon something like this, it's just impossible to resist snapping a quick photo!

And to answer your question, no, we did not buy them or try them. Quite honestly, the main reason was that we hadn't converted any money yet and I didn't want to ask our host to buy them for me. And I still regret that. I mean, who doesn't want to try bacon-flavored (and colored and shaped!) Romanian Krax?

Next week will mark one full year of doing Favorite {Photo} Friday!! Woo hoo! I missed my "blogiversary" and my "twitterversary," marking one year since I started blogging and tweeting, so I definitely won't miss this one! I have a giveaway planned, so make sure to come back next Friday (if not before :)) to get in on it!!

Up for the weekend: working around the house; working on custom jewelry orders; attending a couple of barbecues and trying not to be pissy about all the food that will be there that I can't eat; catching up on some classwork; ironing and cutting up my fabric for the quilt-along, sewing some strips together, and making some squares, which also means some serious craft-room reorganization; counting down the days until I can have a piece of fruit and a glass of red wine and some brown rice. And who knows what else? It's the weekend, anything goes! Have a great one!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fresca is Delicious, Except When I Wish It Were Wine

So I've been on the South Beach diet, Phase 1, for five days now. [Phase 1 is designed to retrain your body how to process normal food since we eat so much crap in America these days. As such, Phase 1 is really restrictive; the good news is that it's only two weeks. If you want to learn more I highly recommend reading the book; even if you don't want to go on the diet it's really informative about how our bodies react to different foods.] I'm happily surprised and pleased to report that I'm not having horrible food cravings. I think that's a result of 1) knowing what I was getting into and 2) being really, really ready to lose some weight. I'm eating a ton of vegetables (like, for every meal, even breakfast!) and I'm figuring out things to make for dinner that will satisfy both Jason and I. Tonight I sautéed turkey sausage + onions + garlic + red, yellow, and green bell peppers + mushrooms in hot-pepper olive oil. For Jason I boiled a small pot of penne pasta to add to his portion. Voilà! We're both happy. Yesterday I made burritos but just put my stuff in a bowl instead of a tortilla. And I'm trying to make extras of everything so I have an easy lunch the next day (so if I suddenly realize I'm starving, which happens often, I have something already ready and don't have to worry about succumbing to temptations).

My favorite go-to items when I start to feel snacky are (in no particular order): celery, which I pre-cut and have ready in the fridge, with a little peanut butter or a Laughing Cow cheese wedge spread in; yogurt, since luckily for me I prefer plain low-fat yogurt anyway; cottage cheese, except I accidentally bought the no salt added kind and it is disgusting--even the texture is different!; a spicy-hot V-8; a cheese stick; a small handful of almonds. After dinner I usually have a sugar-free fudgesicle. I broke the rules at the beginning of the week because we still had some great fruit left and I couldn't bear to not eat it (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and kiwis). My other cheat is that I usually eat more than the allotted amount of peanut butter--2 tablespoons is not a lot! But other than that I've been doing pretty well. And I've seen the scale dip a bit, so that helps!

The only hard part so far has been not having red wine! (There's no alcohol during Phase 1.) It wasn't bothering me too much until last night when I came downstairs to watch So You Think You Can Dance... my ritual is to bring a glass of wine downstairs and drink it while I watch the show and organize something in my craft room. Not having the wine was bugging me a little bit last night. I had Fresca instead, but we all know that as delicious as Fresca is, it's not Pinot Noir! I'll be happy when I can have a glass every couple of days again.

The really hard part will be this weekend. On Saturday we have a picnic with my local alumni association. According to my last name I'm supposed to bring a dessert, but that won't be happening! If I can't eat it, there's no way in heck I'm going to make it and bring it to a picnic! So I'll make sure to bring something that I can eat (and I'll probably eat a good snack before we get there, too!). On Sunday we're headed to a friend's house for barbecue. I'm really unsure about this, since I don't know the guy (Jason rides motorcycles with him) and have no idea what they'll make to eat. Should I have Jason tell them ahead of time that I'm on a special diet and risk annoying them, have them go out of their way to cater to me, etc, or should I not tell them until we get there and risk coming across as snobby about their food (and potentially starving)? Risky either way, bah. I guess I'll ask Jason what he thinks since it's his friend (but then of course I'm sure it will be the friend's wife preparing the food, so who knows). Advice?

See you tomorrow for Favorite {Photo} Friday!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Weekend Update

So I'm a little bit late for a weekend update, but here's what we were up to this past weekend.

On Saturday we joined friends BJElizabeth, and Elizabeth's parents Stephen & Elaine for a big ol' crawfish boil. My friend Andrea went to Tulane with Elizabeth and BJ. Last year she invited us to come to the annual Tulane & LSU alumni crawfish boil with them, and this year Elizabeth invited us back even though Andrea couldn't come! :) I remembered from last year that some people had brought trays to make it easier to carry the dishes, so I brought one this year. We were heroes since my tray enabled Jason to carry back plates for all six of us! :)  Even if it did bow under the weight! :)

As soon as we got back from the crawfish boil we joined our neighbors in the driveway across the street. Man I love my neighbors! We transitioned from tank tops and shorts in the daytime all the way into nighttime when these lovelies became necessary:

On Sunday I headed up to Silver Spring, Maryland (about an hour away, also known as the other side of the world when you live in Northern Virginia--"You're driving all the way to Maryland?") to check out Handmade Mart. I mainly wanted to get some ideas for booth setup and display ideas in case I get accepted into their fall show. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and I picked up a few cute things as well as some great ideas. I loved all the kids of different sizes, shapes, ages, and races playing together in the fountain.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend!

It's been a busy week already so check back tomorrow for more photos and updates, (including a South Beach diet update and my fabric for the quilt-along!).

p.s. Due to peer pressure from another blogger I added that little "Add This" bar to the bottom of all my posts, and my HTML code has been a pain in my rear ever since. Aren't my fonts different than they used to be, or is it just me? I'm thinking of removing that little bar and hoping things go back to normal. I'd appreciate input!